Bognor crashed to a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Hendon as a lacklustre performance brought their first Nyewood Lane defeat since the opening day of the season.
The late sending-off of Calvin Davies made matters worse on a day when a depleted team just couldn’t keep the club’s fine recent form going.
They remain second in the table and will hope to put this defeat behind them when they entertain Kingstonian on Tuesday night.
The Rocks boasted a full bench that included two new faces – Tommy Fraser, brother of James Fraser, and Ifeanyi Onwuachu, who is at the University of Chichester and has played for other sides at Ryman premier level.
With Sami El-Abd out through work commitments, Tom Cadman and Ed Sanders both started in defence. Jimmy Wild was still recovering from a discolated jaw but Harvey Whyte started on the bench after recovering from a pre-season knee injury.
Bognor won a right-sided corner straight from kick-off. Ollie Pearce drifted it in looking for Alex Parsons but he was closed down in the air and Lorenzo Dolcetti’s tackle was deemed a foul.
Whyte was introduced back into the side for the first time this season when he replaced Parsons on 80 minutes.
For Hendon, Jerome Federico crossed trying to pick out Karl Oliyide but he was blocked. Then James Fraser set up Parsons but his shot was well stopped by Andrew McCorkell.
Casey Maclaren received a booking on six minutes after his late challenge on Dolcetti.
Maclaren’a corner was punched out by Dan Lincoln before Parsons crossed for Pearce to send a headeer past the post.
Calvin Davies conceded a free-kick when Oliyide went to ground. Spencer McCall curled it high towards goal but Lincoln tipped it over the bar.
Oliver Sarague found Oliyide, whose cross was headed out by James Crane.
Following a cross from Parsons the ball bounced out to Pearce, whose shot took a deflection before bouncing into the goalkeeper’s arms.
Pearce forced a save from the goalkeeper after he turned his marker on 26 minutes.
Dolcetti’s driven pass into the box saw Parsons flick the ball along the floor and wide.
Sarague’s cross from the left fell to Federico, who shot over from just inside the box.
Lincoln had to push away a deflected shot by Arthur Lee following Bradley Hewitt’s header into the area.
Crane required treatment, giving the injury-hit Rocks camp another scare.
Niko Muir was given time and space to turn and shoot on 38 minutes but his effort was wide.
The Dons did take the lead inside the same minute when Cadman lost control and allowed Keagan Cole to shoot low into the net beyond Lincoln.
Oliyide slid in late on Davies on 40 minutes in a rather dangerous challenge. Oliyide was shown a yellow card and Davies’ free-kick found Sanders but his header rolled harmlessly wide.
Davies got a yellow card on 41 minutes as tempers flared.
A half time substitution saw Onwuachu replacing the injured-looking Muitt.
Straight from kick-off Oliyide set up Cole but he was blocked – then the same player blasted over the bar as the visitors started brightly.
Crane won a corner on the left. Pearce’s corner swung in towards the back post as McCorkell seemed to get his fingertips to it. A goal kick was awarded, even though the linesman had signalled for a corner.
Jamie Smith brought down Pearce in the middle of the park and received a yellow card too on 55 minutes as the referee found it hard to control the game.
Cole also received a yellow card as he blocked off Crane’s free-kick on 57 minutes.
The ball was played wide to Pearce on the left but his shot along the floor was easily stopped at his near post by McCorkell.
McCall struck another one over the bar and Davies let fly with a spinning effort at goal as he surged forward – but when the goalkeeper spilled it with his save, his team-mates were nowhere near enough to capitalise.
Pearce went to ground under a challenge in the area which was ignored by the referee.
Oliyide made his way into the area again with ease and his powerful shot was pushed away on 70 minutes by Lincoln.
Leo Donnellan replaced Cole on 70 minutes for the visitors and Onwuachu spun another shot over the bar for Bognor.
Dolcetti was replaced by debutant Tommy Fraser on 72 minutes.
James Fraser was brought down just outside the box – his brother took it but it flew well over the bar on 74 minutes.
Whyte was introduced back into the side for the first time this season when he replaced Parsons on 80 minutes. He was straight into the action as he spun a header well wide from a Pearce cross.
Kezie Ibe replaced Oliyide on 82 minutes for the visitors.
Tommy Fraser received a yellow card for disputing a throw-in decision that looked certain to be Bognor’s on 88 minutes. James Fraser also received a booking after lashing out in a challenge.
Davies was sent off - and it was a straight red for violent conduct rather than a second booking - following a challenge where he appeared to fall over the player near the corner flag. The referee apparently punished Davies for an elbow on the other player as he landed.
Things got worse for Bognor as substitute Luke Tingey made it 2-0 off the back of a defender deep into stoppage time to send Hendon home with the three points.
Bognor: Lincoln, Davies, Crane (c), Tuck, Sanders, Cadman, J Fraser, Dolcetti (T Fraser 72), Muitt (Onwuachu HT), Pearce, Parsons (Whyte 80). Unused subs: Robinson, Walsh
Attendance - 451
Report by Liam Goodley
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking sports news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be among the first to know what’s going on.
1 Make this website your homepage
2 Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Sport-Sussex
3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex
4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
Share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!